627700-iit-kharagpurSARS-CoV-2 alters lung cell metabolism, shows IIT Kharagpur research model

The Economic Times (April 14, 2021)

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have recently discovered a method to find an alteration in metabolic reaction rates inside lung cells when attacked by virus/pathogens.

According to a statement by the IIT, this method finds and reports critical aspects of physiology. This is especially true when hit by the SARS-CoV-2 infection. This model will enable the discovery of therapeutic targets, states the release.

“In this model development, we have explored how metabolism works and how it is altered in diseases,” said Piyush Nanda, B Tech-M Tech Dual Degree, Biotechnology, 2020 and currently a graduate student at Harvard University.

“Our work involved measuring how the tens of thousands or more complex chemical reactions change when biological cells are intruded on by an uninvited guest like SARS-CoV-2, which would help improve our understanding of diseases,” Nanda said.

The researchers have used the power of genomics to obtain which reactions are altered in the cells when SARS-CoV-2 infects a person. Genomics is the study of whole genomes of organisms and incorporates elements from genetics.

“We have used the gene expression of normal human bronchial epithelial cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 along with the macromolecular make-up of the virus to create this integrated genome-scale metabolic model,” said Dr. Amit Ghosh, assistant professor, School of Energy Science & Engineering, IIT Kharagpur.

"A better understanding of metabolic reprogramming would aid in the design of better therapeutics to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic," said Nanda. (View the original article)